Bulger Day 8: Robert Duvall Shows Up
So Whitey Bulger’s on trial and you’re interested in hearing about it, but you’ve got this darn day job and you can’t manage to keep up with all the live tweets. We feel you. Here’s what you missed. (Past coverage here.)
The Star: The courtroom was abuzz with news that legendary actor Robert Duvall showed up to court today. No one knew for sure just what brought him there, but he looked like he might have been a guest of the U.S. Attorney’s office, and there were whisperings that he was doing research for a role. Of course, maybe he just thinks the trial is fascinating (he has some interest in gangster stories, after all) and he used his star power to get a good seat. At any rate, he only stayed for an hour and a half or so, and didn’t seem to distract much from the proceedings once things got going. So enough about that and on to …
The Witnesses: No one can accuse the Whitey Bulger trial of having a dull, colorless witness list, that’s for sure. Today continued the parade of victims and their family members that began yesterday, with a few law enforcement witnesses mixed in as well. The most cinematic among them seemed to be Frank Capizzi, yet another of the people Johnny Martorano shot when he meant to target Al Notarangeli. (We heard from another of those accidental victims yesterday.)
Some fun facts about Capizzi: He sells water colors and writes screenplays. He arrived in court wearing a white hat, black jacket, a maroon pocket square, and sunglasses, with his white hair tied behind his head. So basically another guy out of central casting, this one.
In 1973, Capizzi left a bar along with a couple other guys when suddenly someone (Martorano testified it was him) opened fire on the car. “For two and a half minutes about a hundred slugs hit the automobile,” he said. He was shot in the head, he says, “and I could feel warm blood running down my neck, and I said, lets get the f**k out of this car.” He took about 25 to 30 pellets and doctors could only remove about 11, so he has some keepsakes, one of them “millimeters from the back of my heart.” Capizzi’s testimony ended when he was asked if he was a bookie and invoked his 5th Amendment writes, which prompted a sidebar, a jury recess, and a ruling from the judge that the lawyers should temporarily move to the next witnesses.
The Gun Show: An expert from the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms also identified an arsenal of guns as well as some photos of others recovered from various stashes, all of which the witness personally tested. This isn’t the first time lawyers have trotted out some serious hardware, but it’s always exciting when they do.
Court was adjourned in the middle of testimony from Special Agent James Marra of the US Dept. of Justice, who was detailing Bulger’s role as an FBI informant. So you have that to look forward to on Monday.